Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Come On, Eileen!

If you've had a chance to try the "California Flight" in the last few weeks, you may have been privileged to sample the incredibly delicious Carabiner, a creamy Alpine-style cow's milk cheese from Weirauch Creamery in Petaluma. Our team was recently invited by proprietors, Joel and Carleen Weirauch to tour the property and learn how their organic cow's milk and farmstead sheep's milk cheeses are made.

"Eating well and taking it slowly" is the motto that Joel and Carleen live by at Weirauch. They believe that theirs, along with other small, family farms in Northern California, is an integral component to the network that is sustainable, local agriculture. They strive in the making of organic cheese and the raising of pasture raised sheep to connect people to the land and with it their food sources.

And, they are simply the loveliest people you could ever meet.

We had heard it was "lambing season" at Weirauch Farm, two words that made it that much easier to pile into the mini van on our day off that Monday morning. Shortly after driving up the gravel path, we were greeted by four feet and four hooves. Joel and Carleen had recently adopted a baby...lamb that is.

Eileen is the newest addition to the Weirauch home, after being rejected by her mother, Meatball, at birth three days prior. She was fuzzy and warm and smelled like heaven.

Besides the fuzzy newborns on the pasture, delicious cheese was being born in the creamery's aging facility. In the off season for sheep's milk, Joel and Carleen purchase organic cow's milk, mostly Jersey, from a neighboring farm. Trained in Europe, Joel experiments with alpine, washed-rind, and tomme fraiche varieties.

His creamery and aging room are all hand built by him and he is constantly refining his methods and techniques.

We were lucky enough to taste his lovely washed rind, Peau de Peche; the Alpine, Carabiner; and an unnamed experiment right from the aging room's pine slats.

After our cheese business was done, we got down to some serious frolicking in the pasture. Eileen and the other lambs have plenty of space to roam and play and the ewes seemed just as carefree. Heck, I'd be more than happy to come back as a lamb on Weirauch Farm. Just look at the beauty:

Our day ended with a wonderful lunch of salad, charcuterie, and of course, cheese. It was a glorious visit. Thanks to Joel and Carleen Weirauch for inviting us into their home and on their majestic property. And thanks to Eileen for providing ample cuteness.

Come to Mission Cheese to try all of Weirauch's cow's milk varieties and stay tuned for the sheep cheese to come!

Blogged by Liz Rubin

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